Many years ago, I was at a meeting in El Paso, Texas with other general church agency board members. As part of our morning agenda one day, we visited the Lydia Patterson Institute to experience the ministries they offer. That afternoon had us traveling over the border to Juarez where we visited the site of a church under construction amid a large expanse of small homes made of cinder blocks. Although those homes were smaller than shipping containers and barely furnished, the residents were proud to have such stable protection from the elements.
Our entourage stopped outside the construction site where we saw the shell of a structure with a partial roof. As we gathered around our host from the Institute to hear more of the story of the area and the construction project, I noticed a young woman with a baby in her arms and holding the hand of a toddler. She hung back from the group yet slowly tried to take a step or two closer. She was clearly interested in us and why we were there. When we called attention to our host, he waved her over and began speaking with her.
What I can still recall is the look she had on her face which could best be described as serene anticipation. When their brief conversation concluded, our host turned back to the group. We asked him about their conversation and why she was there. He smiled and said: “When she saw the group going into the church, she thought we were going to have worship and didn’t want to miss it.” When I heard this and looked back at her, she still had that same serene look on her face. To this day, I can still see it.
Do our faces reflect that same serene anticipation when we prepare for worship? I pray that young woman’s countenance becomes ours.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
To each of us, Lord, you are saying:
“If you want your life and mission to be fruitful
like mine, do as I.”
May I be like a seed that lets itself be buried.
I won’t be afraid.
May I give myself out of love for others,
that I may reap a great harvest,
knowing that you go with me. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To educate this week:
Try to find ways to host an English as Second Language class.
To cultivate growth this week:
Write letters to immigrants in detention.
To advocate this week:
Build a rapid response network within your congregation and community interest partners.
Christine Harman is the Director of Christian Formation for the North Carolina Conference.